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OCEANIA OVERVIEW: Milk production in New Zealand and Australia continues to increase seasonally. In New Zealand, milk producers experienced a strong start to the season with output running about 5% ahead of last year, while in Australia, reports indicate that July /August output was about 7% behind last year. Australian milk producers and handlers state that Septembers weather and moisture conditions have improved to the point that some of the lack of milk early on in the production season will recover.

There are no official reports released as to recent milk volumes, but most handlers still are projecting an overall 1 - 2% annual increase over last season in Australia. Carryover stocks of manufactured dairy products from last season are very low, if any at all. Manufacturers and handlers indicate that they are able to clean out the warehouses in preparation of new season production. At this point, most sales activity is centering on regular customer needs with no significant new buyer interest being reported.

Some Oceania handlers indicated that some Russian buyers were looking for butterfat for upcoming winter needs. Oceania prices have firmed in recent weeks, with many handlers questioning where these prices will settle. At this point, Oceania is basically in the drivers seat with their new production season just getting underway and Northern hemisphere output on the down side. Oceania stocks are once again building with inventoried volumes elsewhere in the world available but often not at levels of previous years.

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